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LONDON — “It feels like a family reunion,” said Tamara Mellon as she gazed up and down the long table at her lunch guests from the British fashion press gathered at Harry’s Bar in Mayfair.
“I’ve worked for some of you, been fired by some of you, been on holiday with some of you. There is a lot of history here.”
During lunch, Mellon showed off looks from her eponymous collection, and talked about future projects, including a London store that will most likely open in Mayfair later this year, and a new charity foundation aimed at raising money to empower women.
“Leaving Jimmy Choo was a lifestyle choice: I was so sick of having to buy clothes in the wrong season. I also didn’t like being able to see shows, and then having to wait to buy the clothes. By the time the product hit the shop floor, I was over it,” said Mellon.
The Tamara Mellon collection is delivered in monthly drops, alongside a parallel, carryover business known as Endless. “Right now, I’m wearing a cozy knit dress, the kind you want in January, when you’re freezing you’re a-- off!” she said, referring to her body-hugging black ribbed number.
Models wore looks from her March/April drop, including a tunic top with studs, a black blouse with cutout shoulders, suede boots, and pops of acid yellow.
“I’ve had fun coming up with the names of the collections too — Erotic Dreams, Heaven, Wild Night and Bad Girl.”
Mellon, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, said that because her new company is in the hands of private investors, rather than institutional ones or private equity firms, she’s able to “focus on my first passion — product. All of the shareholders are entrepreneurs themselves, people who have built businesses and who can take a long-term view.”
She said that so far, her most exciting creation has to be the legging boot. “I’d had it on my mind for years, and I finally did it. Fifty percent of the stock sold out on Net-a-Porter within three hours of going on sale. We were watching it on the screen.”
Mellon said she was determined to create that boot. “I wanted them for myself. I was obsessed with the idea of them, and so had to create them.” Her next brainwave is the closed-toe sandal. “You’ll get it when you see it,” she said.
Mellon also said she plans to set up a female-focused charitable foundation this year, aimed at supporting causes such as equal pay for women, and fighting gender discrimination and the female slave trade.
“Setting it up is one of my big objectives for 2014, and we’ll be thinking of creative ways to raise money for it.”
As for her trip to London — where she spent much of her youth and where she set up the Choo business — Mellon said it always feels like home.
“I love Harry’s Bar — it’s so cozy in winter, and before I leave on Saturday morning I’m finally going to 5 Hertford Street,” she said, referring to the private dining club run by Robin Birley. “It’ll be my first time.”